Thomas Berenato received his Ph.D. from the English department at the University of Virginia in 2019. When not discussing French cinema, he studies British poetry of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, with particular expertise in the works of Gerard Manley Hopkins and David Jones.
John took his first full-time teaching job in 1993, and since then he has taught at levels ranging from high school to doctoral seminars and in disciplines as varied as philosophy and theology, literature, mathematics, physics, and music appreciation. He holds a Ph.D. in English literature from the University of Virginia and is nearing completion of a second Ph.D., in religious studies, also from U.Va. His academic work often combines those two fields: his first book, God’s Patients, tried to bring to light the philosophical and theological background underlying some of the most misunderstood poems in Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, and his second book (currently being written) will attempt a similar service for Dante’s Comedy, with special attention to the poet’s ideas about human and divine will. In both cases the goal has been not simply an improved understanding of old poems but also a frank encounter with some powerful but largely forgotten ways of thinking — an encounter calculated to help us think better about the challenges we face today.
While John’s first specialty is in the European Middle Ages, and particularly in the sometimes overlooked monastic strain of its religious culture, he also maintains a lively interest in modern philosophy, particularly in its interactions with the physical sciences and with questions about meaning and interpretation. He has published and lectured in all these fields, both in the U.S. and in the U.K., where he has recently had the blessed fortune to spend several terms as Visiting Fellow and Visiting Research Associate at the University of Cambridge. His experiences there confirmed his love for reading primary texts with small groups and so became part of the inspiration for TheTreasures.org. He hopes you will join in the fun.